I never have felt that I wanted to promote counseling as one of my pastoral gifts. Yet, people often need someone to point them to God's Word and help them through their dilemmas. That is where pastoral counseling can help. So all along I try my best to counsel people in need.
What makes for good godly counseling? Confidentiality, honesty, faithfulness to God's Word, impartiality, and faith are all needed in effective counseling. Here are a few other pointers:
1. Be a good listener.
2. Let them spill out their hurts without adding guilt or condemnation. Let the know that God cares and you care.
3. Let them tell what they feel is the real, right, and righteous answer.
4. Gently nudge them in the right way in a manner so that they adopt the right solution as their own.
5. Be faithful to pray and allow the Holy Spirit to counsel through you.
Here is another good word to remember. The Bible says the older men should counsel the younger men, and that the older women should counsel the younger women. That is a good rule. Actually there are two rules at work here. One is a gender rule. Men counseling men, and women counseling women. This rule keeps relationships between sexes in proper order. The other is an age rule. The older counseling the younger, not the younger counseling the older. The older should have more insight and wisdom. (Titus 2:1-8)
One final thought, if you feel a need for counseling then first go to the Word and let the Holy Spirit guide you into the path of truth. The truth will set you free. Then if other help is needed, seek out an older, wiser, mature person to offer counsel.